If you are the primary caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other special care requirements, you understand the tremendous commitment and responsibility that goes along with caring for seniors. If you need assistance with care giving in order to stay in the workplace; or if you need some personal time to rest manage your own needs, then you may want to consider using the services of an adult day care center.
Adult day care consists of planned activities for elderly participants that promote a sense of well-being as well as provide supervision for meals, medication, restorative therapy and toiletry. Adult day care centers operate during standard business hours and typically offer a nutritious lunch and snacks.
If you think adult day care could benefit your family, here are a few things to consider when looking for a program that will best fit your needs:
Activity programs or medical care. Adult day care focuses on activities and simple assistance for older adults, including program participants with memory issues. While assistance with medicine and blood pressure or glucose monitoring are typically available in day care; if you need extensive medical supervision or advanced therapy, you may need to look for an adult day health care center.
Types of activities and staff. A well-run adult day center will offer a number of basic activities designed to enrich the programs participants’ daily lives. A good facility offers much more than ‘sitting services’ – it will include arts and crafts, musical entertainment, walking and wellness, quiet places for reminiscing, discussion groups and mental stimulation and opportunities for socialization.
Additional services. Look for facilities that also offer services that can help the caregiver out – like shampoos, showers and grooming; barber or beauty shop services; hand and foot care and simple therapies.
Experience. With our population of aging baby boomers and other older Americans rapidly growing, assistance for seniors and memory care patients is also expanding. Look for facilities that have solid experience and are well-established in the community. A well-trained staff is also important to the care and safety of your loved one and will help with your peace of mind as well.
Participant requirements. Visit several centers in your area to determine which programs best meet the physical and social requirements of your family member, the hours that suit your schedule and the rates that are affordable. Flexible scheduling – such as full or half day rates – can help you plan your work or activities and meet your budget.
When you visit a local adult day care center, ask yourself these questions:
- Did the staff make you feel at home?
- Were the available services and activities clearly outlined?
- Were you able to observe some of the program activities in session?
- Did the staff directly answer your questions about costs and care levels?
- Was the facility well-kept and clean?
- Were the bathrooms and entrances easily wheelchair accessible?
- Did the furniture look comfortable and safe?
- Was there a quiet area for resting?
- Did the center look adequately staffed for the number of participants?
The benefits to program participants are tremendous – they will be safe and supervised, provided with nutritious meals and be exposed to enjoyable activities and peer support. Most adult day care participants come home more alert, talkative and more socialized with the rest of the family. Benefits to the caregiver can be immeasurable – providing much needed relief from the responsibilities of daily care, as well as the opportunities to work outside the home or to manage the household.
If you’ve never considered adult day services for your family, check out what’s available in your area today – you’ll be glad you did!